Veteran utility-man Tyler Wade played his seventh major-league season donning the Athletics’ Green & Gold uniform in 2023. Before joining Oakland, Wade had played five Major League seasons for the New York Yankees and one season for the division-rival Los Angeles Angels. Wade’s best season came in Pinstripes in 2021 when he played in 103 games and slashed .268/.354/.323 with 17 stolen bases.
The A’s brought Wade in on a minor-league deal on October 29th, 2022. The deal came with an invite to Spring Training to compete for a utility job, but Wade ultimately started the season with the Aviators.
What were the expectations
The Athletics brought Wade into the fold to be a depth piece down in the minor leagues in case an emergency came up. Since he has experience all over the field, it seemed he would be up at some point due to injury. It was actually the ineffectiveness of shortstop Nick Allen at the plate that brought Wade up for the first time to the A’s on April 14th.
The utility man bounced back-and-forth between the Athletics and Aviators a couple times in 2023. His first stint lasted 10 games where he went just 1-13 at the plate. On the bright side, he did collect all four of his steals during this first go-round with the club. Wade was DFA’s on April 29th to make room for Ramon Laureano coming off the IL.
His second stint came on June 17th after infielder Kevin Smith went on the IL. During this stretch he was much more productive with the bat as Wade went 12-38 (.316) in 16 games. During this time he also collected his only double and triple of the year. In the field for the A’s, Wade played mostly at shortstop but also made appearances at third base and both outfield corners.
Wade was outrighted off the 40-man roster on July 14th immediately after the All-Star break, making way for future infield building block Zack Gelof.
Wade spent most of the rest of his season at Triple-A, although he did briefly rejoin the club for a couple of days at the beginning of August, but didn’t make it into game action before being returned to Vegas.
What went right? What went wrong?
Wade had a tough first appearance with the club but his second one was much more productive for the A’s. Wade provided a nice band-aid during the dog days of summer by providing more offense out of the shortstop spot. Since the club was way out of playoff contention the team decided to look at younger options, a tough break for Wade considering he looked like he was finally getting into a rhythm at the plate. He also showcased that he still has incredible speed as he swiped 42 bags for Vegas in addition to the four he had for the A’s.
On the down side of Wade’s season, his time in Vegas went just decently. Considering the hitting environment in the Aviator’s home ballpark is extremely friendly, Wade still hit only six home runs. He’s always been a contact-orientated hitter, of course, but the lack of any power is still an issue for the soon-to-be 29-year-old. His strikeout rate rose ever so slightly but the biggest red flags were a noticeable drop in walk rate and insanely high .373 BABIP.
After the end of the season, Wade elected free agency and is now on the open market.
Assuming Wade decides to play an 8th MLB season, he will be on the lookout for a team that could offer him an easy path to a major-league roster spot. That could still theoretically be the Athletics as shortstop remains uncertain, but with Gelof now entrenched at second base there’s one less possible road to the club